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I’ve had my Cricut Maker for years and finally added an AccuQuilt Go! to my craft room to up my quilting game this last year.
My primary use for my Cricut is cutting vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, and other soft materials like the occasional applique or quilt fabric, my AccuQuilt is 100% dedicated to cutting quilt fabric.
So, what’s the difference between the AccuQuilt and the Cricut Maker cutting machines, and which one works best for fabric crafts?
I’ll start with the basics for those not familiar with the two machines and move into more specifics to compare the AccuQuilt and Cricut Maker. Finally, I’ll explain why I love them both and which projects I prefer to cut on the Cricut vs. AccuQuilt!
AccuQuilt vs. Cricut Maker (The Very Short Answer)
The Cricut Maker electronic cutting machine has more versatility as it cuts more than just fabric, and you can use any design that is compatible with Cricut Design Space. While it’s a hobbyist’s dream, though, it’s not meant for the technologically challenged.
Meanwhile, the AccuQuilt makes significantly quicker work of quilt fabric cutting, which is why I recommend using it instead of the Cricut for quilters looking to get fabric cut quickly and accurately.
About the Cricut (Newbie Info)
A Cricut is an electronic die-cutting machine that can cut hundreds of different materials like vinyl, iron-on vinyl, cardstock, fabric, and even thin balsa wood.
There are even different blades available for the Cricut Maker such as the scoring blade, embossing blade, engraving blade, and more.
Different types of Cricut cutting machines exist, but if you’ve found this comparison post, then you likely want to cut fabric.
This means you’ll be most interested in the Cricut Maker series, as these machines have the rotary cutter blade for fabric cutting. This blade looks like a tiny version of a handheld rotary cutter and works to make a clean cut on fabrics.
Now, the Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Explore 3 can cut fabric, too, but these require the fabric to be bonded prior to cutting. This is a time-waster and not ideal for quilt fabrics. That’s why the Cricut Maker is easily the best Cricut for quilting and cutting fabric. (Also, check out 7 quilting ideas for the Cricut Maker.)
(There are two options, the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Maker 3, in the series. You can learn more about the differences in Cricut’s machine comparison table. One big difference is the ability to use smart materials with the newer Maker 3.)
If you plan to purchase a Cricut, I recommend buying a Cricut Maker through their website directly.
About the AccuQuilt (For Beginners)
The AccuQuilt is another fabric cutter machine that cuts fabric in shapes predetermined by dies. Primarily used by quilters, home-use AccuQuilts can cut up to 6 layers of fabric at a time.
Placing a layer of fabric on top of a die and sandwiching it with a fabric cutting mat is all you need to do to set up after you’ve opened the cutter.
Crank the handle to roll the die through the apparatus, and the pressure causes the metal die pieces to cut the fabric.
Now, there are three main types of AccuQuilt machines: AccuQuilt Go! Me, AccuQuilt Go!, and AccuQuilt Go! Big.
I have the AccuQuilt Go! Ultimate Fabric Cutting System, the medium-sized machine with a manual hand crank. I had the AccuQuilt Go! Me for a brief period, but I gifted it as I prefer the larger-sized machine.
I decided against the AccuQuilt Go! Big, as I’m not fond of electric things that can break down the line. I want my AccuQuilt to last forever! However, the Go! Big has a larger cutting surface and, as it’s electric, does not require manually rolling the dies through.
If you want more information comparing these three machines, check out AccuQuilt’s comparison table!
And, I recommend purchasing your AccuQuilt directly through the manufacturer’s website as they frequently run sales.
Comparisons in Detail
Now, here are some thoughts about comparing the two machines side-by-side when it comes to cutting fabric for different projects.
1. Speed and Time Requirements
An AccuQuilt can cut up to 6-10 layers of fabric at a time, depending on the model. The AccuQuilt Go! Big, the electric cutter, cuts faster than the AccuQuilt Go! (manual version) unless you are a super speedy cranker!
On the other hand, Cricut says the Cricut Maker can cut up to three layers of fabric. However, I’ve found cutting multiple layers almost impossible due to slippage. Spraying with a light adhesive helps hold layers together, but it makes a mess of things after the cut.
Now, both cutters require prep time for cutting setup.
For the AccuQuilt, you must cut your fabric close to the shape size, place it on the die, and place a cutting mat on top.
For the Cricut, your fabric must be no wider than the 12″ mat width. You must use a brayer or your hands to smooth the fabric onto the sticky mat surface.
2. Tech-Savviness Requirements
To use a Cricut, you have to have a computer, tablet, or phone to access the internet and Cricut Design Space.
Cricut Design Space, their proprietary software, is required to use a Cricut Maker, as this sends the information to your digital die-cutting machine.
You can create designs for the Cricut within Design Space or another vector graphics program. You can also upload .svg designs (or some other image files) you find on the web to use.
In contrast, AccuQuilts require absolutely no tech expertise unless you plan to use their website to browse for dies or patterns. (There are tons by the way!) There is also no need for a computer, internet connection, or the ability to design shapes in software using vector graphics.
3. What Materials They Can Cut
Cricut Makers can cut over 200 different materials! Here’s the official material list for your perusing.
I’ve used my Cricut to cut balsa wood, leather, felt, metal, vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, acrylic, sticker paper, and so much more. I even like using my Cricut and embroidery machine for perfect applique fabric trimming and stitching.
I also use my Cricut when cutting quilt labels, too, especially when I want an intricate shape.
When comparing AccuQuilt vs. Cricut, the Cricut is the most versatile by far.
However, the AccuQuilt is a fabric cutting machine only. But, it does cut a little more than just quilting cotton for fabric crafts.
Here’s AccuQuilt’s official material list, and it includes materials like denim, batting, felt, fleece, leather, and wool.
The material used does affect the number of layers that can be cut at one time. You can cut some paper with the AccuQuilt (I leave my fusible web backings on), but just be careful not to do this too frequently or you risk dulling the blades.
4. What Fabric Shapes You Can Cut
If you purchase a quilt or sewing pattern with an included .svg file, all you have to do is load it into Cricut Design Space, cut the fabric, and that’s that.
You can also create anything you want within Design Space or your favorite graphics program. The possibilities are endless.
In terms of using a Cricut for quilting, some basic quilt fabric shapes like squares and rectangles are even easy to make yourself using the free square and rectangle shapes.
However, more advanced shapes require either a Cricut Access subscription or individual purchase. You can also create the shapes yourself using a little math and shape splicing. Not impossible, but maybe difficult.
One thing that is superior on the Cricut is you can also resize quilt shapes to your heart’s content to create blocks of any size you want.
In contrast, AccuQuilts require having dies for each size of fabric piece you want. There is a large variety of AccuQuilt dies, though, in various popular sizes.
Check out my favorite AccuQuilt dies list to see what types of dies are available and what things AccuQuilt can cut.
As an example, there are strip cutters for cutting quilt bindings. There are also dies for every geometric shape you can imagine, many applique shapes, and even curved piecing. Furthermore, you can find block-on-board dies, which contain all the shapes required to make a specific quilt block, like a log cabin or a double wedding ring block.
AccuQuilt also cuts dog-ears on quilt shapes and adds notches to curved shapes to make piecing easier.
You can add these yourself in Cricut Design Space if you’re tech- and math-savvy, but it isn’t standard on their prefabricated shapes.
The AccuQuilt Go! and Cricut Maker are fairly similar prices, although prices vary greatly depending on the seasonality, promotions, and the models you purchase.
However, the Cricut has everything you need to start die-cutting with it in the box.
While you may want to buy extra mats, different blades, or extra accessories, you can get started cutting fabric and other materials immediately. (One thing I recommend is several of the 12″x24″ pink fabric mats so you can set up an assembly line of prepped fabric.)
As for designs, you can find Cricut SVG designs for free all over the internet, and you can create your own using Design Space or free software like Inkscape or paid software like Adobe Acrobat.
The AccuQuilt fabric cutter, on the other hand, requires dies to create fabric die cuts. With each die ranging from $25 to $100+, costs add up quickly.
One budget-friendly method of starting to use an AccuQuilt is purchasing their AccuQuilt starter set.
These bundles contain popular dies like the strip cutter and a Qube set. Qube sets contain all the shapes you need to make various blocks of a specific size. Above are the shapes contained within my 8″ Qube block for reference.
AccuQuilt also has a finite number of dies that you can purchase. While most geometric shapes are available, there’s not as much variety with applique or other odd shapes.
You can commission a custom die, but this is MUCH more expensive than purchasing available dies.
6. Precision and Accuracy of Cut Fabric
Unless the AccuQuilt die is dull or the cutting mat is too old, the AccuQuilt cuts fabric pieces perfectly every time. Every once in a while, a thread of the fabric will get stuck between the foam and the die’s blade, but removing the fabric carefully prevents any sequelae of this issue.
Now, the Cricut has limitations with accuracy on intricate designs. The rotary blade has a defined radius and thus limitations with sharp corners and intricate curves. Don’t plan to cut the world’s most complicated fabric snowflake, for instance, and expect the small sharp points and tiny circles to come out perfect.
Both the Cricut and AccuQuilt perform similarly in accuracy and final product appearance for basic shapes, though. With both machines, you do have to ensure an accurate setup to prevent movement during cutting to achieve desired results.
Why I Have Both an AccuQuilt & Cricut and When I Use Them
Obviously, I use my Cricut for all non-fabric crafts. It’s priceless when it comes to personalizing holiday gifts and pretty much everything around my house.
Above is an example of one cute way I added vinyl to an IKEA box to add some sewing humor to my craft room, which has countless other examples of personalization with my Cricut.
I even prefer my Cricut when cutting sewing patterns. (Here are a few places to get free Cricut sewing patterns also!)
If my Cricut Maker broke today, I’d buy another one immediately. That’s how much I use it and love it.
If you are even remotely tech-savvy and have unfulfilled crafty desires, I recommend a Cricut Maker. If you are looking for a die-cutting machine to help with applique, I also recommend the Cricut, as you have more versatility with design selection.
However, I still purchased the AccuQuilt Go! after owning the Cricut Maker. Why?
An AccuQuilt is a staple in a quilter’s craft room!
One of the main drawbacks for the Cricut is it just doesn’t cut quickly in bulk. If I want to make two hundred 2 1/2″ squares of different fabrics, it would take hours with the Cricut.
With the AccuQuilt and the right die, this takes maybe 30 minutes if the fabric is prepped and stacked beforehand.
Also, I depend on my AccuQuilt 2 1/2″ strip die for creating very, very long strips for quilt bindings. Because you can fold fabric up to 6 times, the length of continuous fabric you can create with the AccuQuilt can’t be recreated by a Cricut.
Lastly, my AccuQuilt Go! requires no internet connection or power and is portable. I can cut in whatever room of my house, and I can even take it on the go.
While I do have to purchase the dies I want to use, my AccuQuilt takes all the imprecision out of quickly prepping fabrics for quilting. This gives me more time to sew as I spend less time seam ripping misaligned fabric pieces of wrong sizes.
Want to learn about other options? Check out my list of the best machines for cutting fabric.